adoption, BiPolar (BP) and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Discussion in 'General Parenting Archives' started by barneysmom, Dec 17, 2004.

  1. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I glanced thru the responses and didn't read them all because of how I feel on the overdiagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), in my opinion, in adoptees, but, sure, they have identity issues, but that doesn't mean Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I have two international adoptees. Read my description of the kids---one put his "adoptee/oprhan" status into good use by telling me he was determined to do better than others and make himself really a worthwhile productive person. He is active in church and is so financially successful that it blows us all away---a very nice kid. Came at 6, couldn't hug then, is very loveable now and I don't think he ever raged or even lost his temper. He is just a joy. There is no mental illness on his family, either side, however. That goes with my thinking that mental illness is what Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) really is----often misdiagnosed. My daughter from Korea sure doesn't have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). She was in a foster home for 5 months and the foster mom carried her around and slept with her. We got a spoiled baby who smiled at me as soon as I held her, made great eye contact and attachment was never an issue. She had rough teen years, but so did my biological son, and now we are very close again. I still thin it is often misdiagnosed and overused in adoptive kids. It is not true that Psychiatrists use the term that much. In fact, I never met one who did. Just therapists. It's in the DSM, but so is ODD and most of the time Psychiatrists look for the bigger picture, from my own experience with tons of Psychiatrists (I have bipolar). Austism mimics Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) dangerously so---the kids do not make eye contact, don't like to be touch, can rage, can be very defiant---very important to make sure it's not autism. I think attachment issues, like my son had (unable to hug at first) is caused by never having been loved by a mother or father (he was in an orphanage), but he overcame that on his own and never acted out. Lord knows, he knows where his birthmother is, has the money to travel there, and our blessing to find her and is steadfast that "I will look if I want. You are my family." My Korean daughter too. We've offered to help her; she isn't interested right now and is living a happy productive life. I think focusing on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) has SOME (hardly ALL) parents thinking, "I got it!" and not trying to see if it is bipolar or other psychiatric problems that may be in the genetics of the birthfamily. My friend, who adopted twins and was told the defiant twin had Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), just rolled her eyes because the birthmother clearly has bipolar, and that's what she thinks it is, and that's what makes the most sense. The child was never without love. She spent her first year in a very affectionate, loving foster home. Failure to Thrive syndrome is when a child is not held or cuddled. it doesn't mean it has to be the biological mother who does it. Hey, we lived with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), so I know it exists, but, if you got your chld really young, I'd be questioning it. A therapist tends to harp on the adoption issue. My now 20 year old rolls her own eyes and says, "They think everything is adoption." When she took drugs it was to be accepted, but they didn't buy it and steered her towards talking about adoption. Now she is doing well, and doesn't think much of therapists, which is too bad in case she needs to see one some day.Anyways, always an interesting topic, but it is still a very controversial issue and seems like a catch-all for everything wrong with an adopted kid. Agan you adopt a kid at 11, YES. You adopt a baby? Well, use your mom gut. I'd rule out everything else first...and I do mean everything...before I'd go there. And I'd want a Psychiatrist to diagnose it or at least agree that a Therapist is on the right track. Therapists don't have medical training. Have a good Xma /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
  2. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    To add to the risk factors for healthy attachment that Nancy discussed in her post ("neglect, abandonment, abuse, multiple placements")would be an inherited mood disorder, ie. if the child is coping with a biochemical imbalance, externals like attachment are stalled.

    Also a factor is the child's hardiness of (genetic) temperament in general. My easy child has a very hardy temperament, able to bounce back from the hard stuff. He has his "issues" of grief about his adoption, but we talk about them and he quickly gets on with his present life. (He is a blessing and a joy to me). However, my difficult child is completely bulldozed by all the events in his life. He is getting better, though, finally.

    And regarding the brain, our attachment therapist has educated us about the amygdala in the temporal lobe, which regulates the "fight or flight." In children who are constantly stressed, the amygdala gets rewired into the "flight" mode, which contributes to aggressive, seemingly impulsive responses and misinterpretation of social cues. Or maybe it's the "fight" mode, I can't remember. But anyway, it contributes to an aggressive, protective response.

    Thanks everyone
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    I just want to say how impressed I am that you are all recognizing that everyone has their own opinion on this issue. As in most things in life, every child and situation is different. It is good to be open to listen to others and respect the different opinions. It does not mean anyone has to try to change any opinions.

    This thread is just a wealth of thoughts, emotions and opinions. Respected. Amazing!

    Fran, you must be loving this one!!!!
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hey, I beieve in MOM GUT the All the pros in the world don't top MOM

    My kids are all different races, and, maybe because our frinds are of all different races, they still don't have symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Hey, I believe people KNOW what their kids have. My only warning is to rule out everything else first. Even in the DSM it is recommended to make sure it's not something else first. Yes, it can be co-morbid, but, if it were me, I'd treat the other stuff first to see if the "Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)" is still there. And, hey, I KNOW our now departed child who was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) had it! So I know it's real. I just think it's slapped on adopted kids too quickly. However, I trust every mother here to know her own kid! Again, Happy Holidays! My kids are hyper and overstimulated and obnoxious this week...hope yours are in better shape!!! Let's get Christmas over with! /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
  5. st_helen

    st_helen New Member

    I wanted to express my thoughts on Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). My difficult child is adopted and we adopted ML when she was 2 years old.
    Her history is not good.

    That being said, we noticed she had bonded with her foster family. Which gave us hope. She went to live with them when she was approxamtely 5 to 6 months of age.

    The only time we have had a professional speak to us about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) was with a psychiatrist who had difficulty treating MLs bipolar disorder. And said that she had to be Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and told us to start withdrawing her mood stablizer. At that point all hell broke lose and then we were told to go back to the original dose of the ms.

    There can be attachment issues without having Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I have done extensive reading on this subject. When a family has a chronically ill child, sometimes the parents are not as approachable with the other children that are not chronically ill and so the other children tend to not want to worry the mom or dad with their own problems.
    I hope i am makind some sense here. It is early and I need coffee.

    If your child is adopted, it is always good to ask the professionals their opinions on adoption. If your child is transracially adopted, it is also a good idea to ask the professionals their opinions on that subject as well. I beleive how they feel on the subject of adoption and transracial adoption can determine how quick they are to attach the Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Again, this is just my own humble opinion.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Interesting. I never had a therapist that ever talked about adoption being the issue, until I searched out and found attachment therapy that is. In fact I am greatly unimpressed with the general knowledge of adoption issues in the therapeutic world that I have encountered.

  7. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    I am overwhelmed to think I could be your hero in any way but thank you for the thought.

    As I have said about 4 times, this is a very interesting thread:

    Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) (the real thing) sometimes occurs in children who are with their birthparents who are totally emotionally unavailable (post partum depression, other serious illness in the mother, child who spends a long time in the NICU, etc) even though they have not met the "horrible" living conditions criterion.

    What I am not sure I agree with is that the trauma of separation from birth mother of a new born is literally traumatizing to the brain. With the agency we had in Korea, each newborn goes into foster care (one infant per home) to middle aged women whose own children must be over 15. If there are twins, (Koreans have the highest natural twinning rate in the world), there MUST be a mother and another female in the home so each baby will have "someone." This is not the situation that most people envision when you say, "International Adoption." MrNo. went from the hospital to foster mother in Seoul directly to the airport. easy child was in "group care" --The Seoul Baby Home-- for five days after she left her foster mother because this is necessary for infants who are not living in Seoul. Was I distressed at even 5 days of group care? Yes, but we have a picture taken of easy child in the Baby Home and she is smiling in the arms of an adult and in some ways, having that picture validates that care was excellent every step of the way.

    So, my kids can't have DSM defined Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) even tho' they were not in our home for the first 13 weeks of their lives because I know the interim care was as close to ideal as it can be. Does it constitute a multiple placement? Yes but moving a child who is 12-14 weeks old can be a smooth experience (based on the baby's reactions.) Ours were.

    HOWEVER, it is a whole different ball-game PSYCHOLOGICALLY when a child becomes mature enough to understand that in gaining a "forever family," they first had to lose another family (usually at about age 7). Nancy is right, this is a plus and minus in transracial international adoption. The recognition of adoption can be preverbal--easy child --who is a very visual person-- oriented by turning her head to Korean adults in stores before she was a year old. She recognized the resemblance between her and them. I have green eyes, everyone else in the family including the dog has brown eyes. easy child felt sorry for me at age 3 or 4 because I was "odd." When I decided to have "the talk" with her at age 3-1 --I started out in the ususal way referencing someone she knew who was visibly pregnant. I said Ryan's mother was growing a baby inside her and easy child interrupted me, and said, "I no grow in you." I was both surprised and not. easy child had already shown that she was quite bright-- and especially well organized in visual perception, so I was not too surprised that she already knew. But the reasons for her observation, which was quite neutral at 3--just a statement of fact, had to be re-worked emotionally many times through the years, including an emerging understanding of feminist issues in Korea that would make it nearly impossible, and very inadvisable, for her birth mother to try to raise her in Korea.

    So with such a neurologically intact person, who has no "problems" that are attributable to neural differences, I do not see separation from her birth mother as a necessary source of executive function problems, Learning Disability (LD), ADHD, etc. She's very bright and a really good student and always has been. We count our blessings.

    However, the emotional work takes time and is not predicatable. It helps not to have other problems in attention, learning etc. but freedom from neurological problems is not a free pass. Identity formation is "double" for adolescent adoptees and "triple" for transracially adopted adolescents. We are fortunate to live in a metro area with a large Korean population. Our kids have always been in school with many Asians, with the largest group being Korean. They have never been in a school that didn't have Asian teachers, a Korean doctor lived across the street from us when the kids were in grade school, etc. They attended Korean Culture Camp every summer until they "aged out" as too old. I volunteered there every year, too. There is an impact of going to camp with 175 other kids in the same boat as you.

    easy child got home from Wellesley yesterday. At dinner, she told a funny story: she has many Korean friends at college and one of them wanted to comment on the looks of a young man (not Korean) who was sitting close by. So she said whatever she wanted to say in Korean to easy child who said, "Huh?". The young woman said, "Don't you speak Korean?" easy child (whose name is a BIG tip-off she is adopted) --said, "No, why would I?" We all roared with laughter! Appearances trump "rational" knowledge even in college student who, by the way, knew easy child was adopted.

    So it is a long task to decide "Who am I?" in my opinion the biggest risk that we can control is the risk of treating our kids as white and then having them rejected by "real" Koreans, i.e. Koreans raised by Korean parents. There is a relationship between acceptance of international adoption and educationa and SES of the Asian adult. So we don't expect recent struggling immigrants to think our children or family are OK. In contrast, the Asian professionals and teachers our kids spent time with have very positive attitudes. We addressed this by making suure no one treated our children as "white" because we are. We ALWAYS speak up regarding racial prejudice, including in school. MrNo was teased a lot and I played the race card rather than the adoption card when he was called a "fat four-eyed Chink" by a bunch of bulies when he was in 6th grade. Those boys were mute with no explanation for their actions and their parents sat publicly humiliated in the principal's office asserting that their children didn't learn racial prejudice at home. The principal was not nice to them. I endured a good deal of criticism for "makeing a fuss," but the message was very clear to MrNo--we don't tolerate racial harrassment and we will defend you.

    I should write a book--in case anyone is still reading this--I am appalled by adoptive parents who when their children were small--and I assume these folks didn't know a lot about identity formation--would say, "My child WAS Korean." News flash--you child IS Korean and always will be. Both my kids wrote college admission essays that dealt in part with transracial identity formation in various ways. It is right there for them and will continue to be. Historically 98% of Korean adoptees have married white people. The sample is skewed bec. the first and second wave of adoptees were raised in all-white rural areas for the most part. If they were to marry, it would have had to have been to a white person. It will be interesting to see what kids raised as mine have been will do. Currently, easy child favors blond men and thinks bi-racial children are "more beautiful than either whites or Koreans." MrNo is somewhat into "racial purity" as are Koreans from Korea and thinks that being bi-racial is an additional difference that can be avoided. MrNo identifies much more closely with Korean culture (he reads and writes Korean but is not close to speaking fluently) so he would be more likely to want children who are "racially acceptable" to the larger Korean community. I think that easy child unconsiously realizes that in a white spouse, she would have fewer value conflicts than with Korean spouse and in-laws who would have cultural expectations she is not prepared to meet.

    I HOPE spouses and grandchildren are a long way off--regardless of race-- but the above comment shows that closely spaced children raised in the same environment can come to very different conclusions in something as fundamental as what they might like their future children to look like.

    The key to all of this in my opinion is to expect your kids to be dealing with this stuff at 17 and 19 and still at 27 and 29 etc. etc. I don't think some families who transracially adopt think through the long term consequences of becoming a nonwhite family.

    Regards to all.

  8. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Helen, good point! We were lucky as our kids never acted Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), although our autistic son could have been mistaken for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), but wasn't. In fact, we had to have a "bonding assessment" before we adopted him (sigh) and they considered it a very good sign that he cried for us and asked for us when they told us to leave the room (????). So we passed. He had Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) symptoms though, since he is autistic---bad eye contact, not liking touch, etc. Yet I always knew he loved us deeply, and he also had a good foster care history. Being ill as an infant, with heart surgery, I heard he was the darling of the nursing floor and was held constantly---also because he cried----then went to a great medical foster home that we still keep in touch with. I think that you DO have to make sure the professional doesn't automatically think any raging or oppositional behavior or "I hate yous" are Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), and that the prof. is ok with interracial adoption. Some profs are prejudice too! We have two asian kids and two black kids (well, one is half black). I think it is helpful, if you adopt interracially, to adopt another child of the same race (just my own opinion) and have friends of people of every race, which we do. Identity issues are the norm for adopted kids because who wouldn't be curious? (My only non-curious kid is my Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified kid---he couldn't care less, but he is a very oblivious child). That doesn't mean they aren't attached completely though. Sadly, I do think some kids are so unattached there is a point of no return. For whatever reason, the 11 year old we fosterd, then adopted, who charmed us into thinking he was problem-free(charmed every professional too), is probably beyond hope. He is a psychopath with no conscious who cares about nothing and has no insight into his behavior in spite of being in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) three years now. He has also tried to sexually abuse kids in his facility, as he had in our home. He doesn't understand that he will get caught and face jail...I wonder if he is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) or Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) with Executive Function deficits though. I never think it's just as simple as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). This kid was sort of doomed from the womb and when his birthmother almost killed him, he stopped breathing...brain damage? He will get out when he is 18. They can't keep him any longer. He is considered very dangerous, but until he offends again, he can't be locked up. I would not be surprised to hear he killed somebody one day, as he has already killed animals and held knives tot he throats of neighborhood children. To me, there is no clearcut answer why THIS child is so sick, and other with terrible backgrounds may have issues, but nothing like these. I don't really think anyone understands Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is still in flux with many professionals I've talked to not believing it is real. When I read about other adoptive kids, I know that, except for this child, we were blessed because the other ones attached, even the one we got at age six from an orphanage in Hong Kong. I still believe most adopted adults are doing just fine, and that Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is slapped on adopted kids as a catch-all by many, and I question some of the treatment for it. I especially get frightened thinking about rebirthing and holding, etc. At any rate, interesting to talk to other adoptive moms. Adopting older k ids, in particular, is always a challenge! I don't personally consider interracial adoption a challenge at all. The child we got at age six had the most attachment issues (like not liking to hug or get kissed). I think it is age related and whether or not anyone loved you from the start. Scott had nobody, but he did learn to love and trust us. It could happen to any of your kids too! I do think Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is mistakenly diagnosed when it is often autism (high functioning with executive functions) and bipolar. I can see how this would happen too.
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sigh... well I do believe that we will all believe which experts coincide with our personal experiences. I do believe I understand your position MM and all I ask is that you allow me to have mine.

    Thanks Martie, your perspective is unique.

  10. OTE

    OTE Guest

    Here's some reading info for anyone interested in transracial adoption. This site also has a list of book recommendations.

    I strongly agree with Nancy that we tend to seek out a therapist who agrees with our viewpoints. But I consider that responsible parenting. We cannot pursue therapy in many directions at once so we need to pick one direction. And we need to go with our gut on what will work for our child- we are the ones who know our children best. So we pick the kind of therapy we think will work for our kids and find a therapist of that viewpoint.
  11. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    I think the main thrust of this discussion should be to get lots of info out there to any of us who are wondering about attachment issues in our families.

    In my case, I have learned the most on my journey with my difficult child by reading or hearing the stories of other families, not from any psychiatrist or therapist. A good friend of mine suggested I visit our attachment therapist because her family had experienced some healing there, and she thought that healing was possible for us too.

    So -- we listen to others and think "maybe that's what's going on with my family." Or not. Like
    the old AA maxim says, "Take what you need, and leave the rest."
  12. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Wend, I am loving this. :panic:
    Just teasing everyone.
    I'm glad that there is a reasonable sharing of ideas from many informed sources.

    I am totally ignorant of the issues of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

    I do know about no one believing there is a problem.
    I do know about everyone seemingly being diagnosed with the same thing.
    I do know about not a lot of info being available until after I struggled to find someone to hear me.
    I do know about a lot of conflicting information coming out.
    I do know about my child not fitting all the criteria.
    I sure do know about everyone else from family to friends to professionals being experts on my child without having a clue.

    Although I don't know about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), I know about searching for ways to help your child and trying to find validation in the experts and literature so that you have a direction to go in. I know how difficult it is when nothing is clear cut or definite. If your child doesn't fit criteria, it doesn't diminish the problems he/she has or the troubles you are dealing with overall.

    The labels are just sign posts to guide you towards the right direction. These sign posts change over time with research and more knowledge.

    I suspect the terms of my sons diagnosis will change with time. It doesn't mean the behavior, symptoms or problems were different. Just means the DSM changed or difficult child changed or we learned more.

    So I understand the frustration of trying to explain a diagnosis that makes you feel like you are trying to justify something that isn't real.
    It's real to you and it's certainly real to your difficult child regardless of who believes what.

    Your conversation on Adoption and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) has been educational to me and a good example of ideas being shared. Thanks.
  13. Penta

    Penta New Member

    Just a nod to Martie for her discussion of transracial adoption...Thanks!

    I was not as successful in immersing my girl in multi cultural experiences even though black culture has been part of her life since babyhood.

    Our city is very diverse, but also divided economically along racial lines. My girl had many enriching experiences in her life because I could give them to her. When she reached adolescence, the black culture was less forgiving of her "middle class ways" and her identity crisis really began. She affected a dialect, as before she had always spoken standard English, and behaviors that she felt "made her more black".

    She has been in a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) with only 2 other black girls for a year....they are also of middle class backgrounds. I notice when I visit she has lost her affected dialect and is back to being who she really is...a quirky, creative,somewhat spacey adolescent.

    However, when she returns home, the quandry will exist again. Fitting in will once again be a problem. I don't know the answer and hope she is strong enough emotionally to find her place.

    I really appreciate all these posts...enlightening and much food for thought!
  14. PA

    PA New Member

    Can't help myself....whoever wrote attachment begins at conception..I respectfully and very strongly disagree. This was a very interesting thread to read!
  15. KimS

    KimS New Member

    I have no doubt Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) exists...I just hate to think that just because a child is adopted, there are people that insist there will be Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) issues. On the issue of attachment starting at conception...what do you say about a young mother who denies she's pregnant, abuses various substanstances during her pregnancy and gets no prenatal care? Will that baby be bonded to her? I don't think so...and in our case, he wasn't.
    Everyone is entitled to an opinion and this has been a very interesting thread.
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    That would be Walter D. Buenning, Ph.D. who said attachment begins at conception. I just happen to agree with him.

  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    This is quite an interesting discussion to me.

    As you guys know, I dont have adopted kids so I cant know that side of the coin. However, I have wondered often if some of my issues could be attachment related because of issues with my mother.

    I have no way of knowing how she treated me at birth or during my first years. But knowing what I do know of my childhood, I do have serious concerns. I would also wonder how she felt about my even being born. She had several miscarriages before me and had been known to joke that when she had me csection because of fibroids "that she wasnt sure if she was taking home the baby or the tumor".

    Her favorite lullaby to sing to me as an infant went like this: Oh she doesnt love her mommy anymore, anymore, Oh she doesnt love her mommy anymore...and the reason that she doesnt love her mommy, is her mommy doesnt love her anymore.

    And when she would sing that to me, I would cry horribly. At least this is what I was told years later...and she would laugh. She thought this was hillarious.

    I guess it was funny to terrorize an infant into thinking that its mother doesnt love it.

    Then as you guys talked about all these other things...I got to thinking about what you said about stress on a childs growing brain in utero. OMG...I was so sick when I was carrying Cory. I had pneumonia and had to have xrays and take strong medications before we even knew I was pregnant with him. The doctors warned me after we found out I was pregnant that I could have damaged the fetus but I went ahead with the pregnancy. Could I have harmed him attachment wise? He seems overattached to us to me...but could this be a coverup?

    Gosh...this just all makes me wonder.
  18. Cory

    Cory New Member

    As a mom of two adopted daughters I will add my 2 cents. I think all of you have touched upon very relevant issues pertaining to adoption, but even more importantly pertaining to parenting troubled kids in general. Janet, your mom's "lullaby" was downright cruel. Add to that a predispostion towards a mood disorder, and it's no wonder you had "attachment" issues.

    So much of this is so very individual. Marty, it's so clear in your post that your kids came to you with totally different wiring. Their genetics played a huge role in how they view their world. One child was resillient, one was less so. That wiring was inborn. Their resilliency, or lack of, in my opinion, is also inborn. Adoption can complicate things, but it interplays with the genetic predisposition of our kids.

    I believe all adopted kids will have issues trying to come to terms with their adoption. That doesn't mean they will have major life struggles or be unable to cope in life because of them. But each child will see their experiences through very different eyes. Add in neurological or biochelmical disorders, and the combination of factors can make life almost insurmountable for some.

    S came to us at 8 days of age. Her birthmom was in a terrible place and had major issues in her life she had been unable to deal with. There was substance abuse early in the pregnancy. I firmly believe S's adoption is not a primary factor to her difficulties in life. She talks openly about her feelings. She feels positively about her adoption and looks forward to reconnecting with her birhmom at some point in her future. But she lacks resiliency in life. She overreacts constantly and is unable to deal with her own emotions frequently. We never met her birthfather, but the descriptions we have of him from birthmom and social worker sound very much like S. He was not adopted but had many, many problems that made him unable to cope successfully with life. He also didn't have the parenting that S does to help him overcome many of his obstacles. She is largely what she is because of what was genetically handed to her, both positively and negatively. We are constantly trying to help her to overcome her obstacles and give her the advantages and resources her boyfriend did not have. Adoption, in and of itself, in my opinion, is secondary.

    E had very different circumstances in that she came from a bm who had every financial opportunity, and reportedly no substance exposure. But, she is not nearly as verbal as S, so in many ways I feel she is at much more risk for ongoing problems in life. She speaks little about her adoption. She speaks little of most of her major problems and uses denial frequently to avoid confronting them. I believe her bm did the same. She, too, had been adopted and although she claimed had no issues surrounding her adoption, I believe her pregnancy was a way of trying to come to terms with it subconsiously. So is adoption an issue for her? Certainly. But so are her verbal learning disabilities that cause her to avoid expressing herself appropriately. It seems her bm had the same way of inappropriately expressing herself. It's also interesting that although she came to us at 5 weeks of age, she had been in 2 foster homes prior. They were good ones, but one could conceivable argue that her problems in life come from the frequent changes she had in her first 5 weeks. Also my father died 2 weeks after she arrived and perhaps I was not as attentive to her during her first weeks here as I should have been. So is she Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)? I think not.

    In this regard, I agree with MM when she states that all other conditions ought to be addressed first. A kid with BiPolar (BP) will have BiPolar (BP) whether he had been placed for adoption or not. If we don't address the BiPolar (BP) medically first, all the attachment therapy in the world won't help.

    I think many therapists have a hard time finding the balance adoption entails in an individual child. Some know nothing about it and attribute little to no significance to it. Others want to attribute all the child's problems in life to adoption and ignore all else. There are no easy answers to any of this. And each child is so unique that how much his adoption affects him can depend more on his resiliency than anything else. And the ability to be resilient, in my opinion, is largely an inherited quality.

  19. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I agree that heredity (the mental status of the birthparents), if the birthmother damaged the child by drinking or using drugs prenatally, etc. cause certain conditions. To this day, we will never know WHY my son is autistic. He didn't start being autistic and regress after his shots, like some kids. He showed autistic signs from birth. Was it the cocaine? Well, duh, that's not a bad guess, but nobody really knows. Nobody REALLY knows anything for sure. I know I have a son with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified who is basically a happy kid, but is a very odd duck and will probably need assisted living. How he got there, no good doctor would try to say. I'm leery of anyone who takes a theory and says, "I know for sure because..." They don't. They can guess. Ten years ago schizophrenia was caused by "cold mothers." Boy, did we get wallopped then. They are finding out even DID comes with a genetic predisposition. A child born with mild autism and Executive Function Disorder will seem Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Throw in a little alcohol and drugs and maybe you have brain damage. Likely the kid would be that way even in his birth home. We didn't seek out any kind of therapists. The only kids who needed one were Lucas, because he was raging so badly, and Julie when she used drugs (she had been fine until then). Both are well attached to us though. Julie may be our most attached kids at all. She used drugs. So do tons of other kids who aren't adopted. She stopped. We are close. I don't think anyone can ever know for sure if their child has Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) or something else causing the difficulties. There are no tests. We need to learn more about the brain and go more on scientific evidence and less on theory. Thank goodness psychiatry is always growing and we can keep people, who would have once been locked in insitutions, pretty functional. Being bipolar myself, hey, I may have been locked up at one time. Now nobody even guesses I have it. Hooray for medications! /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
  20. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    I couldn't agrre with you more. MrNo lacks resilience (still) in some areas and easy child is one tough kid (in the good sense) and I certainly believe this is prewired. Prewiring interacts with adoption in complicated ways that are individual to each child. Part of the prewiring is inherited and part is environmental as in birth mother's nutrition, stress, drug use, etc.

    I live this daily. One with no "problems" other than transracial adoption and one with a strong tendency to depression PLUS transracial adoption.

    Finally, your statement below nicely sums up the problem we all face in finding therapists for our various kids: BALANCE. Acknowledgement of the existence of adoption on the one hand but not seeing it as the sole cause on the other.

    The balance is very subjective in some situations and difficult child's are subjected to additional "adoption scrutiny" in my opinion. easy child has a HUGE number of allergies. No one else in the family does. She is treated without comment by her allergist because he isn't "into" thinking about adoption. However, there is no doubt in my mind that her tendency to be allergic is inherited from her birth family. SHE realized this once and was complaining to me about what she had inherited. (Granted she had just sneezed about 12 times in a row--so the complaint was justified). I asked her when her braces came off? (she never wore them--MrNo did) I asked her when her last glasses prescription was changed (doesn't wear them, MrNo does as do husband and I) and the light bulb came on. She inherited many good things from her birth family and ALLERGIES, too. in my opinion there is a tendency to forget that good traits are inherited as well as negative ones.

    With MrNo it has also been a complicated struggle because he inherited "too much" good in musicality. I know there should be no such thing as "too much of a good thing" --but that is not how public school viewed MrNo's musical abilities.

    So, to me, positive or negative, our children's birth families are always with us, unseen in our case, but with us nonetheless.